The ‘throwaway global economy’ is fuelling climate change, according to a new report from Circle Economy, showing more than half a trillion tonnes of virgin materials have been consumed since the 2015 Paris Agreement. 

The report from the impact organisation states world leaders are ‘missing the opportunity’ to achieve deep cuts in emissions by adopting circular economy strategies that reduce demand for resources.

It identifies a roadmap that could help them meet the target of limiting global warming to 1.5°C, Circle Economy says.

It says circular economy solutions can have a huge impact on climate change because 70% of greenhouse gas emissions are related to production and use of products – from the buildings we live in and the transport we use, to the food we eat and the clothes we wear.

However, it says national climate pledges focus on cutting emissions by reducing fossil fuel use and barely mention resource extraction and consumption rates. It says only one-third mention the circular economy at all.

Circle Economy warns states the global economy is consuming 70% more virgin materials than the world can safely replenish: annual resource use was 89.8 billion tonnes in 2016 but passed 100 billion in 2019 and is estimated at 101.4 billion last year.

More than 90% of what we take from the Earth goes to waste, with just 8.6% of materials cycled, Circle Economy says.

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